Recycling: The sustainable alternative
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When asked about the most recycled product, many people would probably put things like aluminum, paper, tyres or even glass at the top of their list. Although they rightfully belong there, it may come as a surprise that the number one spot is held by the well-known 12 Volt car battery. Clarios plays a vital part in this development. They are not only the world’s leading manufacturer of automotive batteries, but also one of the largest vehicle battery recyclers. Environmental protection and the sustainable use of resources are an integral part of the corporate philosophy.
A major contribution to sustainability is made by Clarios’ flagship brand VARTA ® automotive batteries due to their innovative technological features, design and use of materials. Responsibility for the environment is manifested throughout the entire life cycle. During production, VARTA relies on progressive technology combined with resource-efficient processes and promoting sustainability. Employees’ sense of responsibility also plays a major role. This is why the company supports them and informs about environmental protection topics. Moreover, contractors and suppliers throughout the world are also required to comply with these guidelines.
The number of environmentally conscious customers is increasing. Nowadays, car drivers look for high-performance batteries ready for Start-Stop technology, with longer life cycles and produced to the highest ecological standards – such as the VARTA AGM and EFB batteries. Both are the result of a resource friendly manufacturing process which consumes 25 % less energy and 35 % less water. Thanks to pioneering technologies, long-term impact on the environment can be reduced, or even completely avoided.
However, even the longest-lasting batteries have to be replaced at some point, which is why VARTA is particularly committed to disposal and recycling, keeping customers safe in the knowledge that all the lead removed from a battery is reused without sacrificing quality, and that all legal requirements have been met.
Over 115 years of recycling experience
When a new battery is installed at a partner workshop, VARTA collects and recycles the used batteries. In this way, they take responsibility for the entire life cycle of their products. Recycling of the raw lead is a central part of this process. VARTA’s plant in Krautscheid, Germany has over 115 years of recycling experience: lead has been smelted there since 1904. The amount of lead recycled annually corresponds to about 4.5 million car batteries. With this closed recycling loop, they are able to create new batteries from old ones in an environmentally friendly way.
In Europe alone this system has led to 98 % of all lead-acid batteries being collected at the end of their life and successfully recycled. From each battery, 90 % of the materials can be recovered and reused. That is why 75 % of the lead in vehicle batteries sold today is obtained from recycled sources. This conserves resources and further reduces greenhouse gas emissions which would have occurred by the purchase of new battery materials.